13 November 2023
Earlier today, Chief Minister Julie Thomas held a bilateral meeting with Minister Rutley. Minister Rutley is the UK Government Minister with responsibility for the Overseas Territories.
The Chief Minister is currently in the UK primarily attending the annual Joint Ministerial Council, however she is also undertaking a number of other engagements, which included meeting with Minister Rutley.
Chief Minister, Julie Thomas, said:
“It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to have an inaugural meeting with Minister Rutley. We discussed the challenges St Helena is currently facing, most notably our declining working age population and the knock-on effect this is having on demands for public services, public revenues and our ability to focus scarce resources on other areas. Emphasis was also placed on our increasing aging population, significant prevalence of non-communicable diseases, and the impact this has on our annual budget. In setting out these challenges I was able to highlight the need for continued collaboration in a number of key areas if we are indeed going to be able to implement our desire to achieve building an effective infrastructure and creating an enabling environment, which demonstrates our commitment in focusing on the need for economic development.”
“However, we agreed that actions to grow the economy must take account of our Island’s focus on sustainability. I was therefore pleased to provide the Minister with an update on our plans to transition to at least 80% of our power being generated from renewable sources and the need to grow the population.
“It was noted that declines in our annual budget meant it was becoming increasingly harder to deliver not only what we have to, but also what we need to in order to grow our economy and improve the lives and prospects for everyone on our Island. In closing, I relayed to Minister Rutley the importance of us to continuing to work together with him and the UK Government to deliver on the priorities for St Helena through the proposed new OT strategy.”